Wednesday , Jul , 07 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Hornets sign first-round pick Smith

=== Hornets sign first-round pick Smith ===

New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) – The New Orleans Hornets signed first-round
draft pick J.R. Smith on Wednesday to a three-year deal.

Smith, the 18th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, was a standout at St.
Benedict’s Prep in Newark, NJ. He was named First Team All-State as a junior
and senior. As a senior at Prep, Smith averaged 23.9 points with 5.0 steals
per contest. The explosive Smith also netted 30 or more points seven times.

“We’re glad to get J.R. officially signed so that he can begin his NBA career
with the Hornets,” said General Manager Allan Bristow. “We obviously were
impressed with his basketball skills when we drafted him, but after meeting
with him and his family, we are equally impressed with his character and are
eager to help him reach his potential.”

Smith was named Co-MVP of the 2004 McDonald’s All-America game along with
No. 1 overall selection Dwight Howard. In that contest, Smith poured in a
game-high 25 points to lead the East to a 126-96 victory.

Smith will make his professional debut in the Southern California Summer Pro
League in Long Beach on July 12.